Saturday, December 08, 2007

It Came From The...

I have a lot of talents, but housekeeping is not numbered among them.

As part of my move, I get a new fridge. So my 7 year old fridge goes to my bother, er brother, and his 10 year old fridge goes to my Mom because her garage fridge died after 20 years. And what Mom wants, Mom gets.

Of course, this is a good thing, but the big problem is that I have not actually done more than a cursory cleaning in the entire time I've owned it. Hey, it's cold in there, so it's not like mold and stuff can grow in it, right?

Wrong. I think I probably wiped out an entire new species of intelligent life. I had no idea (well, OK, I sorta did because I'd studiously avoided looking at it) how much sludgy stuff could collect in the bottom of the fridge under the drawers.

Luckily for my brother, I love him enough not to subject him to the horror of the flaccid grapefruit, the ancient tin of biscuits, the sickly wrinkled carrot, and the scary looking pickles which lurked in the back.

Let's just hope, for all our sakes, that the weather stays as cold as predicted...otherwise I am sure that the plague or some...thing newly come to conscious thought will emerge from my garbage can to terrify the world...

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tag! I'm It!

The rules are simple:


Mention the person who tagged you and create a link back to them.
Copy-paste the traits for all the twelve months (see below).
Pick your month of birth.
Highlight the traits that apply to you.
Tag up to 12 people and let them know by visiting their blogs and leaving a comment for them, or emailing them.
Let the person who tagged you know when you've done it!


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I was born in November; that year Texas had a different Thanksgiving day than the rest of the United States (what a surprise, huh?) so I managed to be born on Thanksgiving. Hopefully everyone who knows me is STILL thankful I'm here!

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. I'd agree with this one; I have enough that I have a hard time staying focused.

Difficult to fathom. Not so much me; I feel like an open book.

Thinks forward. Sometimes.

Unique and brilliant. Yes to the first, probably not to the second.

Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Sometimes I have out-of-the box ideas. My thinking is fuzzy; I rely more on intuition. Clairvoyance? If only.

Can become good doctors. Sure! If I wanted to do that much school...

Dynamic in personality. Maybe a little.

Secretive. Not so much.

Inquisitive. Knows how to dig up secrets. Oh yeah, baby! Can't hide it if I want to know it.

Always thinking. Nope.

Less talkative but amiable. Gotta say yes to this.

Brave and generous. No to the first, yes to the second.

Patient. Very.

Stubborn and hard-hearted. Very to the first, not at all to the second...one view of puppy eyes, and that's it. Every single person I know has learned to use the puppy eyes, darn it.

If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Yes, but I have to really, really want it.

Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Definitely! It takes a LOT.

Loves to be alone. Sometimes.

Thinks differently from others. Seems to be true; there are a significant number of people who don't really "get" me.

Sharp-minded. Fuzzy minded more like it.

Motivates oneself. Yes!

Does not appreciate praises. Bring on those compliments and pile 'em higher and deeper, is what I say!

High-spirited. Often!

Well-built and tough. Eh.

Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Oh yes.

Uncertain in relationships. Only sometimes.

Homely. Oh Dog, I hope not!

Hardworking. Nope, creatively lazy.

High abilities. I'd like to make a pun here, but it would probably be too silly.

Trustworthy. Honest (yes!) and keeps secrets. I've only managed that a few times, please don't tell me any unless it's very, very important!

Not able to control emotions. Wrong!

Unpredictable. Only sometimes...and only when you least expect it!


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Here's the tricky part: past the fun of being tagged, the time has come to tag.
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I'm not going to tag anyone here, but heck, I'd love to see what any of you now reading me have to say about yourselves.

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If you don't have a blog, post your birth month with its highlighted traits as a comment. Feel free to tag within your comment as well but, rest assured, no doom will befall you if tags aren't passed along.

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people's flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people's problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislikes being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

JULY: Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people's feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people's mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who love them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn't pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig up secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Bouquet of a Dozen Red...

Today was Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's house; I was delegated to bring mashed potatoes, so last night when I picked up my son, Gavin, from university, we stopped at the store to pick up a bag.

On the way back to the house, my son was looking at the lumpy bag and said, "Roses are overrated. Sure, they're beautiful, but they die in a couple of days. They're all show and no substance."

He was silent for a moment and then continued, "Potatoes, now...potatoes are romantic. They're everything you want love to be. They may not look like much, but they're sustaining and nourishing. They stay good a long time. And they're useful! Why, you can even use one to make a potato clock! Much better than roses!"

Now, Gavin has never dated, and says he's not ready yet. But those are some pretty deep thoughts about love (well, maybe not the potato clock part).

I hope someday he meets his soul mate; someone who can appreciate sustaining, nourishing, useful love, wrapped up messily in a very eccentric package.

And I don't think I'll ever look at potatoes in quite the same way.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Double Yuck!

DON'T read this if you get queasy easily. Really. You've been warned.

I've said it before, but it's worth saying again: I was never, ever going to be a nurse. It's my family profession, pretty much, and I was NOT going to do it. I used to become lightheaded from looking at hypodermic needles, once fainted at the sight of blood, and could not tolerate the least of bad smells.

Then I had pets. And kids. And every bodily fluid that could be spilled on me, eventually was. Silly me, I thought I was inured to disgusting stuff, so when I realized how much a nursing degree would benefit me, I dived right in.

I was SO wrong. During nursing school, I'd occasionally encounter something that would make me vomit (this did NOT thrill my patients) and once passed out during a surgical procedure that involved cauterization (between the sizzling sound and the smell, I just couldn't take it).

So I learned that there were certain things I couldn't look at, and certain things that I should avoid smelling if at all possible (a little Vick's VapoRub right under the nose works wonders).

This week, I encountered one of those smells, and I don't think Vick's would have helped, even if I'd had any.

I'm doing a study which requires fecal samples. Now, in general, I can send a kit home with my patient, and the patient will collect the sample and send it in. And I figured I'd never have to collect one, because really: who poops on command?

Evidently, at least one person in the world CAN and DID.

The disorder I am studying often makes for fatty, oily stools which have (to say the least) an intense stench. And this particular person was far more intense than most, so that the entire clinic seemed to choke on the fog of fumes issuing from the bathroom. With my eyes tearing from the noisome smell, gagging and retching furiously, I dashed in and collected what I needed and then flushed the rest.

Of course, EVERYONE in the clinic could hear me gag (and some of them were ALSO gagging). When I emerge, triumphant, my sample sealed in its container, the patient's family all look at me and start to laugh.

Patient's dad: "Hey, it could be worse! You should have been on the plane the year we went to Disneyland!"

Patient's mom: "Yes, the smell followed him out of the plane bathroom -- it was so thick you almost thought you could SEE it."

Patient: "Yeah, you could sure tell as soon as it got to the each row of seats! People started gagging!"

Patient's dad: "You should have seen the stewardess run back there!"

All three then laugh and high five each other...I am so glad it's a source of humor, and not a source of shame...and I'm also very glad I was NOT on that plane!

And also this week, my daughter, Alex, called with her own story of supreme yuckiness.

She's taking microbiology this semester, and for one of her labs she had to grow some bacteria at home. So she swabbed one of her dog's ears and put it in the culture medium, and it was growing quite nicely, with lumpy and smelly, yellow, black, green and red fuzzy crud covering a dinner plate.

Yesterday, one of her dogs jumped up on the table and licked the plate clean.

Not only is she avoiding dog kisses until she gets over the ick factor, but she gets to tell her instructor that "The dog ate my homework!"

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Phlebotomy Bites

Kids are supposed to be the easiest group to hypnotize, and that's been my experience until today.

Picture this: a short and slight, gap-toothed, touseled hair, cherubic preteen with more than a hint of mischief in his eyes -- completely adorable.

He was here to participate in a study, but he was unsure about the blood draws, due to past bad experiences, so I offered hypnosis, and he was agreeable.

First, he wanted to know about my skills. "Do you have a license?" I was a bit taken aback at this unexpected interrogation by a half-pint, and explained that I had a year of school specifically for hypnotherapy and that this state doesn't require a license. So that was OK.

Then we got down to the actual hypnosis session. Sitting on mom's lap, his funnybone was tickled pretty early on, and he couldn't stop laughing (although he really did try). I was sweating it (literally! drops of sweat beading on my forehead) as I crooned my best hypnotic voice and racked my brain for my next stratagem as he failed to slip into hypnosis with my best inductions: "eyes heavy", "relaxation breathing" and "magic story".

It wasn't until I made him do the "relaxation count" that I finally put him under, and even then he counted to 25 (most people don't make it past 5).

And success! He finally collapsed into a little heap and took all my suggestions readily. And when it came time to test it out -- no pain, no pressure, no problem...and he even watched when I put the needle in.

Afterwards, he said, "I'm going to hypnotize all my friends now!"

Oh dear. What have I done?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wheeee!

Every once in a while, I get a nice perk with the job. This time? Five days in Puerto Rico, with only one day spent in meetings!

Not only that, but it's in January, so I get a brief escape from winter!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You Must Be This Tall to Ride...

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Or at least this intelligent to stick around!

My Swinging Lifestyle

Two months ago, I started doing one of the things I've always wanted to do -- learn to dance. I tried a couple of different types (salsa, waltz), and finally settled on West Coast Swing.

Swing is a partner dance. It's energetic, fast and fun, and you can inject a lot of your own personal style into the moves. It's really kind of a show-off, look-at-me dance.

Everyone learns the same essential moves, but because it can be so individualistic, you have to dance with lots of partners to really be good at it. My Swing Club has practice dances after all the lessons, with a mix of students from beginners to dance champions...and I make it a point to dance with all of 'em.

I have my favorites...there's the young muscley blond guy with the shy smile who has a great lead; the stylish gay guy with the fancy footwork; the enthusiastic older guy with thinning hair who never, ever gets tired and never says no; the tall skinny middle-aged guy with the handlebar mustache who seems as happy to dance as I am, even though he's slow to catch on; and the little short guy who is so breathtakingly GOOD that he makes all his partners look great.

Not only are we a mix of experience, we are a mix of ages and lifestyles and races, and dancing is our common ground.

None of it matters, only the dancing. The music and movement give me something that I just can't get anywhere else.

And...after 8 weeks in the beginner class, I passed the dance test to move up to advanced beginner...and the notoriously uncomplimentary test giver even told me that I'm light on my feet!